City of Cyclone/Future Kansas


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City of Cyclone II: The Wrath of Corn

 

            Through City of Cyclone, an ongoing body of work, I explore potential realities of a twenty-fourth century, small, Kansas town. Over the centuries tornadoes routinely devastate this region with ever-increasing frequency, occurring minimally every few weeks. This area- and the rest of the planet- also endure wildfires, droughts, extreme temperatures, and other environmental destruction. The City of Cyclone decides to rebuild underground. As the citizens dig, they discover an immense treasure of precious materials buried below. By early 21st century standards, this is a landfill, stocked with old PC monitors, TVs, and other non-biodegradable trash. The Future Kansans use these valuable materials to construct their subterranean city. Through the narratives of this society, I depict a dystopian future portraying possible consequences of contemporary situations dealing with basic human needs, power struggles, and environmental
concerns.

            In the most recent iteration of the work, The Wrath of Corn, I consider power structures surrounding agricultural processes. City of Cyclone bureaucrats promote their municipality as a prosperous utopia in a well intentioned, but self-aggrandizing, way. Artistic renderings featuring crops- predominantly corn- portray the City of Cyclone's purported safety, prosperity and plenty in order to boost citizens' conceptions of the town's stability and grandeur. Through this facet of the work, I also explore agricultural methods more adapted to

underground constraints, including miniaturization of plants and innovative nitrogen cycling techniques. The façade of prosperity similarly conceals the problematic monoculture of corn, the most prolific of the few edible, surviving plant species in this future. The images of ideality moreover disguise the civil struggles of the community. The population desires seclusion from the world above and
privacy in their close quarters below, yet implement constant security surveillance. Small, automated reconnaissance devices- commonly referred to as Servos- execute this surveillance, in addition to performing other monotonous tasks such as minding experimental laboratories. I present the Servos' omniscient perspective through the photograph, Looking Room. This image reveals a somewhat more objective version of life in the city, contradicting the narrative I impart through propagandistic artifacts, including a Servo, video footage, and a full-scale diorama of an underground City of Cyclone laboratory unit.

            I portray these conflicting accounts to echo contemporary predicaments. Past, present, and potentially future, corn
in America- and worldwide- is at the heart of a system that feeds, fuels, and controls our diets and economies. Innovations in technologies that can be honed for agricultural development of this crop abound, and yet food shortages and nutrient deficiencies do, too. I look to subvert current models of corn production and consumption through visual examination of our own artifacts of material culture, as reflected in City of Cyclone II: The Wrath of Corn. I look to provoke creative approaches toward building futures less damaging to our planet's climate, ecosystems, and inhabitants and, more adapted to perhaps irreparable changes already made.